No. 584
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
December 7, 2022

What it Has Come To.

A scene from feal life in a sixth avenue smoking car—giddy girls who believe in taking a “whiff of t
June 22, 2015
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Not George Talkington, but there must have been a strong resemblance.Many people could be called “accident prone,” but, fortunately, few take it to the level of the subject of today’s post.  From the “Bath Chronicle,” November 21, 1833 (via Newspapers.com):George Talkington, once a celebrated horse-dealer at Uttoxeter, who died on the 8th of April, 1826, at Cheadle, Cheshire, in his eighty-third
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Strange Company - 12/7/2022
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Wishing you a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving Day! Lizzie is thankful for turkey and all the trimmings – and no mutton broth in sight!
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 11/22/2022
CAME NEAR LOSING HIS MONEYSan Francisco ChronicleMay 6, 1893(Click image to enlarge)  San Francisco Man Taken in by Denver Card Sharks "First time I ever got caught" (Soapy Smith) This post was originally supposed to be about a new "victim" (Charles Anderson) swindled by the soap gang that I recently uncovered during a search through newspaper archives, but in looking through my files I found
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 12/6/2022
On this date in 2002, Pakistani Mir Aimal Kansi, Kasi, or Qazi was executed by lethal injection in Virginia, U.S.A. “Real angry with the policy of the U.S. government in the Middle East, particularly toward the Palestinian people,”* Qazi on January 25, 1993 revenged himself on Central Intelligence Agency commuters queued for a left turn […]
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Executed Today - 11/14/2022
 When tried for the 1840 murder of Catherine Merry, Charles Cook pled innocent by reason of insanity. Despite a history of medical treatment for extreme melancholy, and strange behavior such as running through the streets of Schenectady, wearing nothing but a blanket, proclaiming himself to be the Savior of the world, the jury rejected his plea and found him guilty.Before his execution, Cook
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Murder By Gaslight - 12/3/2022
For years I’ve walked by the delightfully shabby Joe’s Tavern sign at the corner of Tenth Avenue and 25th Street. I’ve never seen the vintage vertical beauty lit up, unfortunately. Even stranger, I’ve never seen any sign of life inside 258 Tenth Avenue, which once housed what I imagine to have been an old-school neighborhood […]
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Ephemeral New York - 12/5/2022
An article I recently wrote for the British online magazine, New Politic, is now available online. The article, “The Criminal Origins of the United States of America,” is about British convict transportation to America, which took place between the years 1718 and 1775, and is the subject of my book, Bound with an Iron Chain: […]
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Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
Oscar Wilde Gets a Reception. | A Bloody Ruction.

What it Has Come To.

Girls Smoking

A scene from feal life in a sixth avenue smoking car—giddy girls who believe in taking a “whiff of the weed” in public as well as in private. [more]

That smoking cigarettes has become quite a common custom among women in their homes, is well known. But like all habits of this kind, their devotees soon grow bold. A scene was witnessed on a Sixth avenue smoking car one day this week which shows that some of the fair sex, at least, do not propose to have their nicotinian enjoyment confined to their house, but boldly practice it in public, Two handsomely attired ladies stepped on to one of the Sixth avenue smoking cars, in which were seated two or three gentlemen, all smoking cigars. The fact that the ladies were deemed intruders, caused the smokers to puff away. In the most careless manner possible, and with the air of one who had smoked from childhood, both of the females opened their reticules, taking therefrom a package of cigarettes and a case of cigars. Requesting a light from one of the gentlemen, they joined in making the air blue with smoke. They paid no heed to the attention which their action caused. Both seemed to think that they were doing the “propahcapah.” Credulous readers may deem this a fancy story, but it is a fact which can be vouched for at any time. What made this action more noticeable is that it was performed in broad daylight, while the avenue was thronged with promenaders.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, November 6, 1880.